Thursday, December 20, 2007

Love is in the air

Around here, Christmas is year round. Whether I'm creating Santas or coming up with something new, most of my creations are geared towards Christmas. I loved creating this little bear as he can also be used to give as a Valentines gift. I can see an anxious suitor giving this to his sweetheart with a diamond ring and a proposal tucked inside. The little paper mache box is useable to tuck all sorts of tiny treasures and has a pillow inside to keep those baubles nice and shiny. Now I'm off to play tag.......

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Angels we have heard on high.....

An angel is anyone who gives of themselves. Do you know an angel in your life that has made your days or weeks better? There are many people we may look at as angels, such as the dear sweet lady who was my..
attendant on the train I took to see my daughter and family this Fall. She was a Katrina victim who had lost all and had to move from New Orleans to Chicago to make a fresh start. She has worked for Amtrak for 28 years, seeing to other peoples comfort. She is sweet, and gentle, and attentive and I think her presence gave me inspiration to create this joyful angel above. I did this while on the train, trying to use my time to play with my colored pencils and pastels. I love Victorian ephemera so I used a picture I had as a model for this sweet face. I never try to make my faces exactly like my models as I want each piece to be my own, that is unless I'm doing a portrait for someone. This angel I will name Paulette, after my dear new friend who gave more than she needed to while doing her job. I hope to hear from her as I promised to do a couple of portraits for her. Well it's off to get some cards finished so I can get to the post office and to work.....have a wonderful, joyful day!

Friday, December 14, 2007

The First Day of Christmas.....really!

Okay, so I jumped the is really the first day of Christmas. You would think that since I work at a school I would know how to count So we really are on our way now to that very special day we all anticipate each year. A time of gathering with family and friends, sharing gifts, food, love and hopefully much laughter.
As promised in the previous post, here is how I display my small but growing Santa collection. Most of them I've created myself, but I am starting to add some very cool Santas, such as the tall gourd Santa in the middle that I got from Linda Kennon of Natchez, MS. You can find her creations on ebay by searching "gourdqueen". She has some fabulous creations so I feel lucky to have one for my collection.

In the next photo you can see a tall Santa with a fluffy beard

and fur ruff. He is also sporting hand made snowshoes, and a real lightable coleman lantern. He was made by a very dear friend from North Pole, AK and I got him as a gift when I opened my Anchorage apartment up for the North Pole ladies from church, who came down to the Anchorage temple one weekend. We had such a good time and this was a wonderful thank you gift.
The skinny red Santa was made at a church craft night, the framed Santa is done with a brown bag cookie mold and paper. I hand painted him and the backround he is mounted on. The birch Santa I will detail later in this post.

Here is a better look at the gourd Santa, who is surrounded by a fencerail Santa I hand painted, plus my little textile bobbin Santa, and a driftwood Santa. Don't you just lvoe the sunflower and long flowing beard on the gourd Santa?

The textile bobbin Santa was created using paperclay on a bobbin, hand painted and antiqued.
The driftwood Santa is one I created last year and couldn't part with as I really love how his bag of toys turned out looking all lumpy and full. This next set of Santas were all created by me. There is a scrapwood Santa, tall and funky.
My first paper mache Santa and a counted cross stitch Santa.

Well, I can't seem to add any more pictures for now
as there seems to be som technical difficulties here.

This little green Santa was created from egg cartons, paper and flour over a vanilla bottle. He is so cute I couldn't let him go. He was my first paper mache Santa. You can see another Santa with a blanket and lantern that I call "Sleepytime Santa". He was a lot of fun to do.

Well I'm off to the post office since I can't put up more photos right now. Thanks for stopping by. I hope your real first day of Christmas has been wonderful!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

On the first day of Christmas......

Here it is, the first day of Christmas and I'm still waiting for my partridge in a pear A pear tree would be very nice for our home in Oregon. It would go well with the plum and apple tree we already have. I have most of my decorations up, and almost all the gifts ready to send. Now it's on to cards, and perhaps the staff gifts for hubby. We got a beautiful grand fir tree this year and the house smells wonderful. I finally, after 20 some years, made a manger for my nativity set. I'm posting some pictures to share some of our Christmas decor.

I took the plunge and tried my hand at making an angel tree topper this year. It must be the year of "finally" for my decorations. She was created using paper clay over a styrofoam ball. The hair was stitched onto a piece of nylon and then glued in place. The dress was added over a paper mache cone with wire through it for the arms. The arms have tiny clay hands. She was fun to do and I look forward to making more next year for sale.

Here is a Nativity set I hand painted. I bought pieces at a ceramic shop in North Pole, AK way back in the late 80's. I cleaned and smoothed them for firing; then had them fired to the bisque stage and tried to get them painted right away.

Well it took me until 2 years ago to finally finish all the pieces. I still didn't have a manger so last Saturday I got out some scrap lumber and tried my hand at construction. It's nice and rustic as the larger pieces were nicely weathered cedar fencing scraps. The roof is a temporary one made out of cardboard and dried moss but you can't tell the difference by looking at it. I love
how it turned out and can't wait for the extended family to see it. The set sits on a buffet in our tiny living room. I tried to get good pictures of the whole set up and will have to retry later.

Here is a gathering of Santas I have created over the years, at least all except the one on the far left which was a gift from it's creator and some friends at church. I have more and will post tomorrow. I got on the Santa kick in North Pole and haven't stopped.

While you are here take a peek at my new Christmas youtube video I've posted.

I hope your first day of Christmas is pleasant and enjoyable!

Warm Christmas Greetings!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Counting my blessings this morning......

I'm counting my blessings this morning as I have much to be thankful for. I'm in Missouri visiting Stephanie, her hubby and my granddaughter. Kent was in an accident last night that could have killed him. He was on his way home from work meetings in Tooele. A cow had wandered on to I-80 between SLC and Wendover. Someone had just hit it before him and as he rounded the corner he saw two cars stopped on the side of the road so he swung around them only to hit the cow head on himself. It was night time and the cow was black so he didn't see it until it was too late. His car rolled several times and slid several yards before coming to a stop. He doesn't remember getting out of the car, but he did on his own and wandered into the middle of the road where someone grabbed him and wrapped him in a blanket. He was given a ride home by a friends husband, who happens to be a trooper. He refused to go to the hospital as Annie was home and by herself. I know that Heavenly Father answers our prayers as my husband was spared last night. I-80 is a very busy freeway, with many semi trucks traveling at night. I still don't have the full story as Kent was still slightly in shock when he called last night, but needless to say, I'm so grateful that he is still alive.
This brings me to a reflection on this time of year. I love the Autumn season with all the glorious colors and the excitement of the upcoming holidays. The one thing I really wish we would all take time to do is take time to truly enjoy Thanksgiving, and not rush headlong into Christmas right after Halloween. The stores have already put up Christmas decorations which makes me feel pressured and pushed along to just get Thanksgiving over with. I think I will start a movement to push Thanksgiving to the fore front so that we can get back to normal. So I will have to post another thread on that topic.
For now, lets take time to mentally list the blessings this year has brought to us.
Here's my list:
1. I'm grateful for my grandparents generosity in leaving us a trust. It has helped me be able to afford to travel to see my children, and be able to bring them to see me. It has helped us be able to make some improvements to our home in Oregon without going into debt. Because my health is keeping me from being able to work full time, their foresight has blessed me to be able to do all this. I was also able to go to my neice's wedding which I might not have been able to do otherwise.
2. I'm so grateful that my husband survived his crash last night! The car is totalled and he is still alive and well.! He has been a blessing to my family and I don't know what I would do without him.
3. I'm grateful that my son and his little family want to move closer. I have waited for years to have my children close to me again and can't wait to spoil my grandson.
4. I'm grateful for the time I've been able to spend with other family members, and that I feel closer to my Aunt Patti.
5. I'm grateful for all the new friends I've made this year through my art and creativity plus my work. They are an inspiration to me and give me an incentive to be better at all that I do.
6. I'm grateful for my little Primary class and the sweet spirits they are. The best way to feel closer to our Heavenly Father and the Savior is to teach little children about them. The insight you can gain as you view the gospel through the eyes of a child, is priceless.
7. I am grateful for the talents that I've been blessed with and the opportunities to share them with others.
So dear friends, don't forget to count your blessings each day and remember where they come from. Feel free to add your list here because I'm sure your list will help us add to ours as well.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

An Early Autumn Morning ........

This is a journal entry from 10-16-07.

As I leave my in-laws home this morning to go for a walk, I wonder momentarily if I look silly in a headband and fleece jacket. The thought evaporates quickly as I spot two women jogging; one bundled up just like me.

The air isn't as cool as I'd hoped, but cool enough to keep my ears covered. I love an early walk on a brisk Autumn morning, when all is quiet except the whisper of the breeze and the skittering of dried leaves as they scatter across the street. I see the evidences of neighbors who are remodeling, and improving their properties. A welcome change from the eye sores these places were before. There's a grey cat peeking out from between living room curtains, surely longing to be outside. Up ahead I see the pink and peach of the sunrise that glows over the mountains. Layers of slate grey and lavender clouds are moving in; the front runners of a fore casted storm. The hills are draped in the soft folds of a russet, camel, sage and gold patchwork of foliage. As I pass my favorite home, I peek through the trees surrounding it, trying to imagine what the view from their picture window is like. I would have a home that faced the mountains too, if I lived here.

On my way back down the hill I see that the clouds are sporting Santa like beards as their moisture trails across the sky. I spy a pile of crispy golden leaves down on the other side of the street so I cross in order to crunch through them, kicking and scuffling as I go. I'm thinking that when I get back to my in-laws, I want to rake a huge pile of the leaves in their yard and play with them. My father-in-law beat me to it though because he is already outside and has half of them raked up. My mother-in-law is watching him from the window, afraid I think, that Dad will have another heart attack. I'm torn between helping him so she won't worry, and letting him do this, as he needs to feel like he can still do something. I help for a little bit, by sweeping leaves on the sidewalk, a compromise so Dad can still get a little exercise. Mom can't see me though as she is almost blind, so she comes out on the pretense of checking the mail, and dressed in her slacks and pumps starts putting leaves in the trash can for Dad. It's a sweet sight, as I've never seen her help him outside before. They always do dishes together, but she stays indoors while he is out. All in all, it's been a wonderful morning.
We will be heading to Arizona for a few days to see my new grandson. When I get back I hope to have lots of photos, and I will have a few new creations to post. Have a great week!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

A Mothers Influence.....

This weekend was a time to reflect on the importance of women, especially those who are mothers. We celebrated my mother-in-law's birthday, along with watching the LDS church semi-annual conference. The over-riding theme besides God and family was a mother's influence. The importance of the role of a woman in the home, and how she can build a strong family and community by fulfilling her role as a mother was greatly stressed. I know that today the worlds views of motherhood are in conflict with the past. A stay at home mom is considered old fashioned. I am grateful that my mom was there to teach me those things that made me a better mom and artist. She taught me to love God, nature, people, good music, art, literature and a lovely home. She got on the floor and colored with me, teaching me shading, contouring and how to create shape and depth. She taught me the basics of sketching people so that while she was good at landscapes, I surpassed her in drawing people. We would cook together, rarely using recipes for our sauces, but with heads together, we would season our concoctions with a pinch of this and a dash of that until we had the taste we desired. Cake baking always meant licking the beaters, and using the extra frosting to make graham cracker sandwiches. Baking pies meant making cookies dredged in cinnamon sugar from the leftover pie crust. One of my childhood friends recently relayed to me that she appreciated the time mom took to show us how to can peaches or make jams, and other heavenly delights; something her working mom never had time for. She said she was glad mom was there, and that she enjoyed how we would talk an laugh. Mom taught me to value honesty, modesty, and showing love to others. Her methods were sometimes subtle but she knew each one of us well, and how best to handle us. Take for instance the time I let a classmate talk me into taking a pair of sunglasses from the local drugstore. We would go down there each day during school lunch time for a hotdog and soda. My "friend" had a habit of shoplifting. Well about a week after I took the glasses mom had taken us to the city park for a picnic. As we sat there on the blanket she shared with me that the lady behind the counter at the drugstore said I was the most polite, nice, and sweet teenager she had ever met and she appreciated me. Well mom knew that I never wanted to do anything to make her or the family look bad or dissapoint my Heavenly Father so she appealed to my concience through this story. I suspect that she and the clerk talked about this and figured this was the best way to keep me from becoming a habitual thief like "Debbie". She was right....I felt so awful I never took anything again.

Mom has been gone for 34 years but her influence is still strong in my life. Now that I have more time to devote to my art I hope I can share my values and beliefs through my creativity. As I do this I hope that my mothers love can shine through as well. I hope that you can be uplifted, and find a bit of gladness as you stop by and see what is happening in my world. Feel free to comment and share....

Above are a couple of pictures of mom...the second picture is with my younger sister and I. I'm the curly top moppet standing.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

You never can tell......

I woke up at 3AM this morning and never really got back to sleep. I ended up getting up at 4:30 to work on a design for a Folk Art angel I want to create for my yearly Christmas Card design and ornament for our AHAO group. I mulled over the design as I lay there unable to sleep; thinking I was going to go in one direction but you never can tell how these things will end up.
As it was, I got called in to work as a sub in P.E., but after a couple of hours they cancelled that to pull me into a regular classroom to take the place of a teacher whose baby is ill. During my break times I continued to work on the angel design and by the end of the day it was quite a bit different.
I have also been mulling over whether to take a job at hubby's school or re-up my license to work where I am right now and I think that decision was made for me today. I would have to go to Reno to take the tests and we don't have the money for me to go 360 miles, (one way), stay in a hotel, and pay to take tests for a license.
So today has been one of those never can tell days, where everything ended up quite a bit different than I thought.
I will be finishing the angel design on Friday and will post pictures hopefully soon. I'm working tomorrow, chasing 1st graders around, and getting lots of hugs while trying to read, teach them Math, how to spell, and not whine. It's a blast, no matter what age level you work with. One of the neat things about working with children is that you can view the world through different eyes and there never can tell what they will say or do.....

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Fragmented Day....

Too many ideas, and demands on my time lately; which really showed up today. This time of year I'm always excited......the leaves are changing color, the air is cooler, harvesting is almost done. I love to create anything with a Christmas theme, but this year Halloween has been haunting me I also have 2 schools calling me to sub, and 2 different sets of tests to study for that relate to working at one of the 4 schools in our area. My husband is principal of one and would like me to work up at his school. I love the freedom of subbing though, because I can create when I want rather than be on someone else's schedule. The house needs to be squared away before winter hits, and the garden needs to be put to bed for the year. So excitement over the ideas running through my mind of creations I want to bring to fruition, household chores, phone calls and emails, stuff....yipes! These are all happy situations, well okay maybe not the cleaning part, but even that can bring peace of mind. So....I'm off to clean and make time for creating!